Rumors of a full-fairing version of the Zero SR/F electric motorcycle have been making laps nearly as long as the bike has. But based on a new spy photo, we may have the closest thing to a confirmation yet that a fully-faired Zero SR/F is in the works.
The spy shot in question comes to us from Asphalt & Rubber’s Bothan Spies.
They snapped the photo showing the Zero SR/F in question on the road near Zero’s California headquarters. The bike appears to be a blacked-out Zero SR/F sporting a full fairing and a real windscreen.
For those keeping score at home, none of those three options are available on the current Zero SR/F electric streetfighter.
Is a fully-faired Zero SR/F on the way?
A full fairing, which wraps around the front of a motorcycle to create a more aerodynamic shape, can have a big impact on the motorcycle’s efficiency.
All of the electric motorcycles in Zero’s current lineup are naked bikes or non-faired motorcycles. That design choice may be coveted by many, but it does no favors to the bike’s efficiency.
The Zero SR/F in its present, naked form
A full fairing on a Zero SR/F could have the effect of a dramatic increase in range. The effect would become even more pronounced at higher speeds such as highway and interstate riding. That’s currently the Achilles heel of Zero motorcycles, and to a certain extent, all-electric motorcycles. They burn much more energy by drawing high power when traveling at fast speeds where wind resistance makes a larger impact on efficiency, resulting in reduced highway range.
Other electric motorcycles, such as the Lightning Strike, have already adopted the full fairing design.
Lightning Strike electric motorcycle showcasing a front fairing
When comparing the highway range of the Strike and the SR/F, the difference is fairly striking. The 15 kWh Lightning Strike achieves a highway range of 169 km (105 mi) compared to the 14.4 kWh Zero SR/F with a highway range of 132 km (82 mi). To put it simpler terms, the Strike has a 28% greater range despite having just a 4% larger battery.
Of course, there are many other factors that can affect the difference in range between the two bikes, but the fairing’s impact certainly contributes.
What’s the downside?
As much as a full fairing could benefit the Zero SR/F in the range department, there may be some caveats.
The biggest issue could be cooling. The Zero SR/F has a passively air-cooled motor, battery, and controller. That means it relies on air rushing by the motorcycle to suck away heat from its vital components. And a full fairing could complicate those efforts by hiding the components away from the slipstream.
However, it could also present a unique opportunity. If done right, the fairing could also be used to better direct cooling air over critical components. That could potentially improve cooling further while also reducing the SR/F’s drag.
We’ve reached out to Zero for comment on the yet-unconfirmed full fairing option for the Zero SR/F, but had not heard back by the time of publishing. We’ll update as soon as we get any more info from the company.
This could be big. Zero doesn’t do full fairings – at least not yet. And it’s probably the single largest complaint I hear from commenters. Many people are worried (rightfully so) about eeking the most range out of their electric motorcycle as possible, and a full fairing could do that.
I’m not a huge fan of full fairings if you ask me. I loved the way my Zero FXS looked and actually prefer the style of a naked bike. Yes, it’s not the most efficient. And yes I’ll never take the checkered flag with a naked bike. But I simply don’t care. I’d rather have the sexy, mechanical styling of a naked bike any day, even if it means I’ll have to charge a bit sooner. Almost nobody is running their electric motorcycle to 0% anyway, so it won’t be an issue for most riders on most days.
But I can totally understand those that actually do want to maximize efficiency. And if that’s you, then your lucky day may be coming if Zero pulls the trigger on this design.
What do you think of a fully-faired Zero SR/F? Let us know in the comments below.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.